A website is a crucial part of any design business in today's digital world. It's not only a chance to show your best work to potential clients, but it's also a platform that allows you to demonstrate your skills, professionalism and your personal design style.
In his webinar on website design, Sam Torrey, Digital Marketing Specialist at Porkbun, showed us how our websites can be formatted and structured to make the biggest impact.
Here are some key takeaways from his webinar:
1. Your domain is an extension of your brand.
URLs that end in .ca, .com and so on are extremely common. While they’re recognizable, they don’t tell your potential client a whole lot about you or your business. A domain like .design, however, instantly brands you or your business as design focused. This way, a potential client knows something about your website’s content even before they visit it.
2. Use your name or the name of your business in your URL.
Using your name or the name of your business in your website name may feel like a no-brainer, but it’s really important, says Sam. For example, a website called www.JaneDoe.design immediately tells a potential client who you are and what you do. It’s also memorable and professional, which is especially crucial if you’re a new business trying to gain clients.
3. Make it clear what you want from your potential client when they visit your website.
We all want a potential client to view our work and then contact us about our services. Sam says to make sure that the main things you’re wanting from a potential client are obvious and clear. If you want them to get in touch with you, add a “contact” button, or even have your contact information in more than one place on your website.
4. Your website’s layout and design should be an extension of your creative style.
Every designer has a style. Sam recommends thinking about that style and/or your business’ branding and use that as the inspiration behind the look and feel of your website. If you’re an illustrator, why not incorporate illustrations into your site? Your website layout and design is another chance to show a potential client your skills, abilities and interests.
5. Don’t get caught up in the numbers game.
Sam says that it’s okay if you only have a few projects to share. A strong website doesn’t necessarily have a library of projects to scroll through. Instead, a strong website does a fantastic job of explaining to a potential client who you are and what you’re able to do as a designer.
6. Showcase a few “super projects”.
“Super projects,” according to Sam, are projects that you not only loved doing, but are also discussed in detail on your website. Rather than just sharing a photo of the work, you’d share a few photos, describe your methods, what choices you made and why, and the end result. By doing this, you let your potential client see and understand your design process.
7. Only show work that you want to do again or are good at doing.
Your website is essentially an advertisement for the work you're able and available to do. With that logic in mind, Sam recommends not adding to your website any projects that you really disliked doing or would never take on again. It may be tempting to show all your skills, but you’ll kick yourself later when a potential client approaches you for the kind of work you enjoy the least.
8. Your website can be multiple pages or one scrolling page.
There’s been a movement towards websites that scroll and away from websites with multiple menus and pages. Sam says that ultimately, it's up to you to choose what kind of website works best for you and your business. Neither option is better than the other.